There were many reasons Ericka Cullars-Golden attended a rally to protest police fatally shooting Philando Castile. She has lost one son to suicide and another was killed by police. The tragedies struck within a few months of each other. She works for the St. Paul police. Like Castile, she is black.
“My son Marcus Golden was basically assassinated by my own St. Paul police department that I am affiliated with,” she told a crowd.
“I’m still dealing with the fallout.”
As Cullars-Golden watched the graphic Facebook video of Castile dying from the bullets fired by a St. Anthony police officer, she winced from the painful memories it brought back of her own son’s death. What made it worse is she knew the officer who pulled the trigger. She had worked with him several times before.
“I’m sick and tired of all the deaths.”
Remaining Son’s Surprising Career and Crowds Surprising Response, Videos.
Her remaining son has a degree in law enforcement and is looking for a police officer job.
“I am so proud of him for still wanting to stay (on) track of that course. He was right at the tail end when his big brother was murdered and he still completed his degree. And I just hope to God that some law enforcement agency gives him the chance to prove himself.”
Attending Thursday’s rally to support others was a way of working through her own grief.
“There’s a lot that I have not even faced yet. It’s just been too hard to lose two children five months to the day. My two sons are buried right next to one another. I just can’t take much more of anything. This has all got to stop. I just can’t take it, and nobody else can either.”
“I have kept my composure. But one day, I will break down. I will. But I have to stay strong for myself and my son, my family and for everybody else in the meantime. I just want everybody to know what I’m going through.”
Then she paused and asked a favor.
“So if you see me, give me a hug. Tell me you understand.”
What happened next was beautiful. One by one, strangers stepped forward to hug her until there was a mass of people huddled around her.
“Thank you. Thank you,” she said tearfully. “I know I’m not alone.”
Video at top: Edited version of Ericka Cullars-Golden’s speech
Video at bottom: Ericka Cullars-Golden’s full speech